May 9, 2022
LPN Karen Schmidtke picks up a food kit from sponsor Ryan Kasko of Kasko Cattle Co Ltd. Putting together hundreds of free meal kits, Umami staff and community sponsors helped to hand out cooking kits of local ingredients to create a South African meat pie called Bobotie during a virtual cooking class. Photo by Gwen Wirth.
Members of the Zieber family, from left, Johanna, Laurel, Annika and Colin, collect kits from sponsor Ryan Kasko and Umami Shop co-owner Patricia Luu. Photo by Gwen Wirth.
Story by Kelly Morris | Photos by Gwen Wirth
LETHBRIDGE — A well-deserved round of applause for local frontline healthcare came in the form of a free evening of food and entertainment, thanks to Umami Shop.
Shop owners Patricia Luu and Sven Roeder recently hosted their largest virtual cooking class to date for more than 400 Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff.
Umami Shop, a world grocery boutique that features international grocery items, a restaurant and cooking classes that went virtual during the pandemic, wanted to show their appreciation for all that healthcare workers have done throughout this unprecedented and difficult time.
“I personally appreciate all the support AHS has given us not only as Umami Shop, but also personally with my father's health,” says Luu. “We appreciate all the healthcare and frontline workers throughout these past years during the pandemic — and it is an honour to do this event.”
Putting together hundreds of free meal kits, Umami staff and community sponsors helped to hand out cooking kits of local ingredients to create a South African meat pie called Bobotie. On the Saturday night of April 23, AHS staff logged in to Zoom to learn, cook and enjoy this tasty dish along with Umami and hundreds of their friends and colleagues’ families.
“It meant a lot to be recognized for the hard work and dedication that my colleagues and I provide to the community,” says LPN Karen Schmidtke.
“After experiencing such an isolating time during the pandemic, it was special to come together and do this cooking class. I was able to see many frontline workers who serve our community. To share a fun experience like this is a great memory. I’m very of appreciative of the thoughtfulness of Umami and their sponsors.”
Colin Zieber, South Zone senior operating officer, and his three daughters picked up a kit for their family to join in the culinary fun. For the Ziebers, healthcare is a family affair. Zieber’s wife Lori works in public health, while their twin daughters Laurel and Annika recently completed their second year of nursing studies in the joint degree program with Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge.
“This was an amazing opportunity to bring so many colleagues together during this live cooking event,” adds Zieber. “All healthcare staff have worked very hard over the past few years, and we’re thrilled to have Umami provide this opportunity to rest, relax and enjoy some time with friends and family over good food.”
The complimentary meal kits were sponsored by Asian Supermarket, Fee Simple Law, Kasko Cattle Co Ltd., Subaru of Lethbridge, Old Country Sausage and Vital Green Farms — a solid showing of additional community support and gratitude for healthcare workers. Money was also collected for the Canadian Cancer Society — with Asian Supermarket matching all donations — which raised more than $2,200.
“One of our values at Umami shop is ‘act local’,” says Luu. “Because the only way we can grow within a community is by helping to grow the community we are in.”